1. Newbie
Join Date
Nov 2006
Posts
6

## Hypothetical Conditional Sentences

Dear All,
I need some clues to understand hypothetical conditional sentences.
These Forming lists are from my text book.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.to express a present or future hypothetical or contrary-to-fact situation.
Condition Clause , Result Clause
simple past form,+would,could,might+base form or base form+ing
past progressive form,+would,could,might+base form or be+base form+ing
could,would+base form,+would,could,might+base form
Examples:
If I were you,I would save more money.
If Mike were not working in the dining hall,he could not afford college.
If Mike could find his library card,he would start his term paper.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2.To express a hypothetical situation in the past.
Condition Clause , Result Clause
past perfect form,+would,could,might+have+past participle or been+base form+ing
past perfect progressive form,+would,could,might+have+past participle or been+base form+ing
Examples:
If Gali had turned her lab report in on time,she would have received the full
ten points on it.
If Scott had been paying attention in class,he would not have been asking
his friends how to do the assignment last night.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This example sentence below makes me confused.
If Lan had not refused to lend us his car,we could have been driving to the beach right now.
I understand that this sentence's event has already taken place in the past,
but why does the result clause contain 'right now'?
I can understand if the result clause is 'we could be driving to the beach right now.'
And all result clause forming contain 'would,could,might'.
Which meanings should I take? modals or past forms?

2. Senior Member
Join Date
May 2006
Posts
1,335

## Re: Hypothetical Conditional Sentences

Hi, Munchkin,
I agree – while could have been driving is not altogether impossible (in other contexts), I’d also use could/would be driving here. Whether to use could or would is up to you and the context:
If I had the money I would go to Ireland for my holiday.
If I had the money I could go to Ireland for my holiday.
There’s not much difference. The former sentence says that you’ve made your choice; the latter is not so definite.
Cheers

3. Newbie
Join Date
Nov 2006
Posts
6

## Re: Hypothetical Conditional Sentences

Hi! Humble.

I could understand that could and would have subtle difference.

Is it possible to use other modals to make a result clause?(in the past)

4. Newbie
Join Date
Nov 2006
Posts
6

## Re: Hypothetical Conditional Sentences

Dear All,
Now,I have another question.
What's the difference between these two sentences?
1.If Lan had not refused to lend us his car,we could be driving to the beach right now.
2.If Lan had not refused to lend us his car,we could have been driving to the beach right now.

5. ## Re: Hypothetical Conditional Sentences

Originally Posted by Munchkin
Dear All,
Now,I have another question.
What's the difference between these two sentences?
1.If Lan had not refused to lend us his car,we could be driving to the beach right now.
2.If Lan had not refused to lend us his car,we could have been driving to the beach right now.
The first is correct, IMO, but the second is not.

In the first, the result clause is the present conditional and it is fine with the present adverb (right now).

In the second, the result clause is the past conditional. It doesn't fit with the adverb.

6. Newbie
Join Date
Nov 2006
Posts
6

## Re: Hypothetical Conditional Sentences

Hi,Mr.Mike New York. Thank you for your comment.

If Lan had not refused to lend us his car,we could have been driving to the beach right now.

I found this example sentence in my text book when I was studying about making a sentence "to express a hypothetical situation in the past".

This example sentence makes me confused..

The present adverb 'right now' should be used for present situations,correct?

Thank you very much!

7. Junior Member
Join Date
Sep 2006
Posts
63

## Re: Hypothetical Conditional Sentences

[quote=Munchkin;126386]Hi! Humble.

I could understand that could and would have subtle difference.

I think the difference is more than subtle:
Could indicates possibility
Would indicates certainty
Regards

8. ## Re: Hypothetical Conditional Sentences

Originally Posted by Munchkin
Hi,Mr.Mike New York. Thank you for your comment.

If Lan had not refused to lend us his car,we could have been driving to the beach right now.

I found this example sentence in my text book when I was studying about making a sentence "to express a hypothetical situation in the past".

This example sentence makes me confused..

The present adverb 'right now' should be used for present situations,correct?

Thank you very much!
Correct.

If Lan had not refused to lend us his car, we could have seen the game in person (last week).

9. Newbie
Join Date
Nov 2006
Posts
6

## Re: Hypothetical Conditional Sentences

Originally Posted by JCrawf
I think the difference is more than subtle:
Could indicates possibility
Would indicates certainty
Thank you very much!
I understand that the difference is more than subtle.

10. Newbie
Join Date
Nov 2006
Posts
6

## Re: Hypothetical Conditional Sentences

Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
Correct.
If Lan had not refused to lend us his car, we could have seen the game in person (last week).
Now,I'm clear about the hypothetical conditional sentences.
Thank you very much!

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